Over 5 Million Printing Devices Sold in Central and Eastern Europe in 2016

According to the IDC Worldwide Hardcopy Peripherals Tracker  for the fourth quarter of 2016 (Q4 2016), the printer and multifunctional peripheral (MFP) market in the Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) region grew 1.9% in unit terms in 2016. This represents the first positive development since 2011, when the printing market started to decline. Unfortunately, this positive development does not represent a permanent rebound for the regional market or promise a long-term growth trend.

In fact, in line with global trends of digitalization and the related reduced demand for printing, IDC predicts a decline of the printing market in the more developed countries of the region, like Poland or the Czech Republic. Printing markets in Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) are expected to stabilize and grow only marginally. Close to 5.4 million printing devices were sold in the CEE region in 2016, with a total value of $ 1.4 billion, according to IDC’s Tracker. Every hour, over 600 printers or MFPs were sold.

IDC surveyed over 600 companies in CEE, and, not surprisingly, hardware price ranked first. Duplex printing and scanning capability closely followed, reflecting changes in the market. With digitalization initiatives, MFPs are often viewed not only as output devices, but also as input devices, bridging the gap between the paper and digital worlds. Functions such as scan to email, scan to folder, scan to cloud, or scan to workflow help organizations in transition from paper to digital.

"The ongoing digitalization of paper-based processes in business, together with the increasing preference for electronic documents among both businesses and consumers, are expected to be the major inhibitors for sales of printing devices in developed CEE countries,” explains Ilona Stankeova, research director with IDC CEMA Imaging, Printing, and Document Solutions. “We expect a slow overall market decline in mature CEE countries like the Czech Republic or Poland, resembling the trend in the U.S. and Western Europe. That said, pockets of growth will exist, mainly for smart MFPs with advanced functions or low-cost-per-page devices.”

The Russian market for hardcopy peripherals stabilized in 2016 as vendors, channels, businesses, and consumers adapted to new economic conditions. IDC forecasts single-digit growth in the short term, backed by the slowly improving economy and necessary replacements of old devices. Growth will also be supported by import substitution, ruble stabilization, and expanding business contacts with partners in Asia and Latin America.

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